LETTER: State could benefit from Office on Women’s Health

women's health

On May 24th, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) announced the introduction of the bipartisan Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act to improve health outcomes for women and infants. This legislation would authorize new federal grant programs aimed at reducing maternal mortality to help improve health outcomes for all women.

During the Fall 2020, the Louisiana Center for Health Equity (LCHE) was in conversation with Senator Bill Cassidy on the issue of women’s health and the dismal health outcomes among women in Louisiana. LCHE is pleased about this legislation and in full support of the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act as it aligns well with our efforts to improve health outcomes for women. That includes decreasing Louisiana’s unacceptable rates of maternal mortality, preterm birth, low birthweight, and infant mortality. “I am extremely pleased with Senator Bill Cassidy’s leadership on addressing these health outcomes for women and infants, especially as it relates to maternal mortality and racial and ethnic bias,” said Alma C. Stewart, president and founder of Louisiana Center for Health Equity.

alma stewart
Alma Stewart

Women’s health is a priority of LCHE and a major focus of our work. LCHE champions women’s health and is the convenor of the Campaign to Establish Louisiana Office on Women’s Health with a goal of creating such an office within the Louisiana Department of Health. The Campaign to Establish Louisiana Office on Women’s Health is comprised of more than fifty organizations that are advocating for an Office on Women’s Health to alleviate health disparities experienced by women and children. Representative C. Denise Marcelle is currently sponsoring legislation, House Bill 193, to establish the Louisiana Office on Women’s Health. “Louisiana stands to benefit greatly from the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act through the Office on Women’s Health by possibly receiving grants authorized under the act to develop evidence-based practices and innovative healthcare services for women and infants,” said Representative Marcelle.

The efforts set forth under the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act and the creation of a Louisiana Office on Women’s Health will improve the quality of life for women and overall health outcomes in Louisiana. “I am very pleased to see bi-partisan support at both the state and federal level for improving maternal health outcomes nationally and here in Louisiana,” said Stewart.

To support the effort to establish the Louisiana Office on Women’s Health, please sign our petition at: https://www.change.org/LAOFFICEONWOMENSHEALTH.

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